Meet our Client Director and Head of Strategy – Sara Svedjedal!

We are proud to introduce Sara, our Client Director and Head of Strategy who with her impressive experience, positive attitude and humour is a driving force at the office.

Sara, tell us about yourself and your story so far. 

I am originally from the countryside Grödinge, south of Stockholm. I began my professional journey as a communications consultant at @Cloudberry communications before moving over to Hill & Knowlton, today known as @H+K Strategies. I worked with projects such as the Borse Dubai and Nasdaq acquisition of OMX, which eventually set me off for new adventures with Dubai Group, a member of Dubai Holding (the Government investment company of Bourse Dubai amongst others). All in all, I lived in Dubai for 10 years and the last few years I co-founded and ran an investment and advisory boutique called @Enspire whilst studying an MBA at IMD in parallel – hectic but fun years.

After a decade abroad I missed Sweden and decided to return home, super happy to finally spend time with my family again. Here in Stockholm, I am engaged in alumni networks of both @IMD and the @SACC-NY Mentorship program. I know how much these networks have helped me develop both privately and professionally – which is also why I find Agentum’s business model brilliant. I know for a fact that great people know great people, and all my previous experiences prove it. Now, I am thrilled to make use of my accumulated experiences and knowledge in my position as Client Director and Head of Strategy at Agentum.

What does your position as Client Director and Head of strategy entail?

My position as Client Director and Head of Strategy actually entails two different roles that very much go hand in hand. It is my responsibility to put the customer at center and find innovative solutions to solve the customers’ challenges in candidate sourcing. In practice this means continuous customer contact and initiating and implementing strategic initiatives for Agentum to have a sustainable business. I think it is a unique position in that sense, as it is both strategic and operational. 

As Head of Strategy, I see a great opportunity for Agentum to play a vital role in the (frankly) quite old-fashioned and conservative recruitment industry. I want to be responsive and flexible in my way of thinking, so that Agentum can be a forerunner in leading the industry-wide change that is needed and sought for. We know that companies not only want to find a person but the person. 

What is your view of the industry going forward?  

In line with the increased priority of companies to take back more of the recruitment inhouse, we external service providers have to adjust and lead – Agentum for example provides an example of how a traditional service is made differently. Saving the recruiting manager time and money whilst providing unparalleled access to candidates. We must continue to develop solutions to our customers and also scale geographically. 

Meet our newest addition to the team – Project Manager Anna Susanna Ahlmann!

Although her first day with us was only last week, Anna Susanna has already upped our energy and team spirit levels (even more than before). We asked Anna Susanna about herself, her onboarding process and thoughts about Agentum so far.

Anna Susanna – you are the newest member of the team. Welcome! Tell us about yourself.

Thank you a bunch! I am extremely excited to be on the team and ready to get going.

I am born and raised in Lund, Sweden, but I spent my college years abroad; mostly in Switzerland, where I studied BBA in Hospitality Management at Glion Institute of Higher Education. I have been living in various places the last couple of years: except Switzerland, I lived in Dubai where I had an internship at Marriott Hotels Dubai Marina Complex and London for my exchange semester, so naturally traveling and exploring is by far my favorite hobby. I also worked with corporate events at Eventyr before graduating last winter.

Except this, I have a passion for skiing (I spend every weekend possible up in the mountains), fitness, spending time with my close ones and personal development. Furthermore, I am outgoing, not afraid of stepping outside of my comfort zone and I am a doer, which is why focusing on people, networking and corporate events in my professional life suits me well!

How did you find your way to Agentum? 

Well, ”great people know great people” is the best answer to that question. I am living proof of concept, since I was recommended for this position by a member of the Agentum team – and it was a total match. I felt honored to be recommended and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. 

After meeting the team and discussing what my position would entail, it was a done deal. The amount of energy and genuineness that the Agentum team radiates was very appealing to me. Also, the team is diverse, and everyone has different strengths which enables me to learn a lot more than what I expected in the first place.

Tell us about your position at Agentum and your way forward from here. 

At Agentum, my primary priority is to make sure that the connection with the agent-network is working well. Therefore, I am working closely with Frida Malm and Tomas Hagenfeldt to both meet the agents one-to-one twice a year and onboard new agents. I meet new inspiring people every day, hear success-stories and various career paths so in that sense, my job is basically to meet and connect with great people – not too bad for a first full-time job! 

We have a close relationship with TVG and I will work with them in coming projects this fall. Having the benefits of a supporting company (TVG) but also the start-up spirit in Agentum suits me perfectly. As Agentum is a relatively small company I have already been engaged in both big decisions as well as details, and my role is extremely dynamic. I have responsibility over a wide range of projects – primarily concerning the agent network, but also within customer relations and general management tasks. I think that being exposed to a wide range of responsibilities is the best lesson one can have as a young professional, as it skyrockets your learning curve more than a ’fixed’ position would do. 

It is always such a boost to meet intelligent people so I’m looking forward to an endorphin-filled semester ahead of me!

Modernisation within the Recruitment Sector

This spring, we conducted a thorough market analysis which demonstrated some learnings with regard to the entire recruitment sector. Some managers seem to be unhappy with the way recruitment businesses operate – a result of a slow modernisation process within the industry. Some even believe that the industry has stood still for the last 20 years and state that processes are outdated, with little focus on innovation and creative solutions.

We want to acknowledge the need for modernisation within the industry – we understand that there is a lot of work to do. Although these aspects vary from company to company, the general takeaways remain. In response to this, we introduced some changes.

One key factor that is being highlighted over and over again is the importance of corporate culture to candidate matchmaking. In fact, a poor cultural match is both one of the main reasons people leave their positions, as well as one of the main reasons people stay. While resumés and Linkedin search serve their purpose (filling the positions), it remains difficult to convey a corporate culture to the extent necessary to find a perfect fit. We are proud that our recruitment process does not involve traditional search methods. Rather, recommendation-based recruitment is key to modernisation, as it enables the ability to use word-of-mouth recommendations form people who know their candidates.

Many companies strive to work proactively to find the right person before finding the right position, especially if knowing that they will need people in the long run. Therefore, we are introducing the possibility to collect recommendations that focus on personality and culture, before addressing a specific position. With a proactive approach, you can find great people when they are recommended to you, rather than filling open positions as they appear.

I look forward to further develop ideas and strategy with you – stay posted!

Madeleine Celander


We Found Elgigantens Next CMO – Here’s What Their HR Manager Says

This spring, we helped Elgiganten find their new Chief Marketing Officer. As a position in the management team, soft values such as personality, approach and culture were key features in the recruitment process. We asked Hanna Bergfäldt, Head of Human Resources and People Development at Elgiganten to give her view on recruitment in general and this CMO appointment in particular.

“When recruiting, it is crucial for us at Elgiganten to find a person who is a good fit with our corporate culture. We always look for people who share our values and passions as we know the importance of those factors in a team.

A challenge we face is that, in the same way a job posting can fall short in describing the ultimate candidate, a candidate resumé does not always show the full picture. Sometimes, a great candidate might not be actively searching for a new position, or even be aware that we are hiring. Therefore, we focus on reaching out to different candidates with the soft values that are so important to us, so that we do not limit ourselves to those actively searching for new positions.

To us, personality and motivation are fundamental aspects to all recruitment, but particularly important when appointing key positions. We do not have the time or resources to handle a bad recruitment – the costs of that immense – so we need to find people we are confident will handle the position exceptionally.

Through Agentum we received the perfect match – a candidate by recommendation by others, as well as assistance in the candidate selection process. We experienced Agentum as very professional. They made sure that they understood our business and corporate culture so that they could find a good fit not only on paper, but in practice as well. Our recruitment is now finalized and we are looking forward to wishing Camilla welcome to us at Elgiganten! Her personality and approach are spot on and she will be an amazing contribution to our organisation.”

Meet our Project Manager Kasper Fantenberg!

We are happy to introduce Kasper, who has been part of Agentum’s journey the longest of us all! He is a true spider in the web; he keeps the company running but works mostly behind the scenes. Kasper – we are lucky to have you!

Tell us about who you are and your journey so far.   

I am born and raised in Gothenburg and Stockholm but moved to Uppsala to study business, where I also became engaged in Uppsalaekonomerna. I eventually took on the position as Vice President and worked primarily with study surveillance, which included all relations with the university and improving education standards. After graduating, I applied to a master program in Business Administration and Informational Systems at Copenhagen Business School, which I am currently undertaking.

I have been working with Agentum for the past two years and seen this idea go from one employee (me) to the enthusiastic group that we currently are. I was recommended to the position by a friend – practicing what I preach with referral recruitment – who saw the match between my potential and Agentum’s needs.

On a personal level, my heart lies in Gotland where I spend all my summers. I previously worked a lot within the service industry and at home I enjoy cooking and baking – a much appreciated hobby by friends and family.

As a project manager, what projects are you working on?

As a project manager, I have had the chance to work a little bit with everything: sales, recruitment, agent relationships and product development. My main focus the past six months has been the technical platform that we are using: optimising design and functionality by acting as a bridge between the product team (programmer and designer) and the business team (CEO and strategy). I am currently working on updating the agent platform by using more statistics, developing new functions and new opportunities to engage agents and candidates through the website and agent portal. We are also looking into opportunities to provide more interim- and board positions, which would be a huge step forward.

For Agentum, my vision is to automate many of the processes so that the business model runs as smooth as possible. I always strive to improve strategies and techniques that enable Agentum to perform better and faster. The goal is to create a win-win situation for all parties. I want agents to feel included and appreciated, customers to feel happy with the product and our team to continue growing and maintaining an amazing team spirit. I believe that the more important soft values become in the matchmaking between candidates and companies, the more relevant our business model will become to recruiting companies.

Personally, I strive to further develop my function as a bridge between tech and business as I “speak both languages,” so to say. The more I learn about each, the better I can perform as a translator or facilitator between the two. In the near future I will be moving to Canada to study (and ski!). After that, I strive to finish my master’s degree at CBS before leaving Copenhagen for Stockholm with my girlfriend.

Meet Clara Bodin, Global Lead Diversity & Inclusion at Telia Company and Agent at Agentum

At the core of Agentum you’ll find our agents – the 1500 people who hold our entire business model up and running. They are the people who give us insight into their networks and share their knowledge of great people, so that we can reach out with open positions to the right ones.

Therefore we want to introduce Clara, who, with a sense of justice and a mind for business, has reached the position as Global Lead Diversity & Inclusion at Telia Company. Here’s a taste of what she has to say about inclusion, innovation, age-discrimination and door-opening.

Clara, tell us about your position, the company you work at and your journey getting there.

I am globally responsible for diversity and inclusion at Telia company; a very fitting company with regard to this question, for the world is communication, right? And everybodycommunicates in their own way! The world is diverse, Telia is part of the world and therefore we have to recruit and retain talent from all kinds of backgrounds in order to succeed and be at the forefront. When the telephone became commonplace in homes and offices after the First World War, it was the women who obtained the hundreds of thousands of jobs as switchboard operators in the world. Now, IT and telecommunication float together through digitization, robotization and automation and suddenly, there are new groups making their entry into the labor market. Since the geriatric EU has few young people (who also reject technical training programs), developers and engineers from other parts of the world instead make their entry. These come from populous regions with lots of young talented people.

A group I think will mean a lot for innovation in the industry in the future is people with neuropsychiatric function variations that are rejected today, already in school, as they do not fit within the “framework”. There is much underestimated talent here; Greta Thunberg, to name one example. Then we have all our elderly people who, with an increased retirement age, we have to stop age-discriminating. You’re not undevelopable after 55 years? Research shows that discrimination in some cases begins already after turning 40 – this is hardly anything we can afford in our geriatric EU. 

So, how did I nail the best role in the world for me? I’m a youth politician who then got stuck to the Russian language, I studied economics and went into business. I worked in the former Soviet for 15 years as an entrepreneur and HR director, finally to land as an “internal politician” in a global company. The circle closes itself. Lovely!

Tell us about what motivates you and your goals for the future.

The motivation to work for equal rights for underrepresented groups comes from a sense of justice that I’ve had since childhood.Personal experiences from exclusion, discrimination and bullying are present as an extra fuel. My goal is for Telia to take the obvious choice in telecoms for women – based on the post-war history mentioned above – but of course as an inclusive workplace for everyone. My personal goal is to open as many doors as I can. Not only by building open-minded recruitment processes at a large company, but also by functioning as a door-opener in my spare time as well. As I speak fluent Russian, I regularly meet immigrants/newly arrived from countries in the former Soviet Union and consult them on how to get employment, give them tips on education and connect them with people in my network. Especially women from the East are so wonderfully driven and well educated and can give Sweden so much power. 

What is your latest important learning? 

I think the issue of built-in bias in AI is interesting and scary. Virginia Dignum, Professor of Social and Ethical AI at Umeå University, is the real nestor here to follow. For those of you who want to get involved in integration issues and have some time on your hands – share your network and knowledge about how the labor market in Sweden works through www.yrkesdörren.se! A simple digital tool for meeting new Swedish talent who want to contribute to our society, but do not have the contacts to come in and show what they have. This summer I will read Melinda Gates’ Women Change the World and Youval Noah Hararis’ 21 Questions for the 21st century. That is, if I have time, with two little playful children who just want to swim!

Meet Fredrik Engdahl, CCO of DanAds and Agent at Agentum

At the core of Agentum you’ll find our agents – the 1500 people who hold our entire business model up and running. They are the people who give us insight into their networks and share their knowledge of great people, so that we can reach out with open positions to the right ones.

As one of our most appreciated agents, we wanted to have a chat with Fredrik Engdahl to hear more about his inspiring position, his motivations, goals and his most recent relevant learning. Here’s what he shared.

Fredrik, tell us about your work position and your journey getting there.

I hold the position as Chief Commercial Officer at DanAds, who offer a self-service advertising platform which enables our customers such as eBay, TripAdvisor and Bloomberg to sell digital ads to smaller advertisers as simple as Facebook and Google can do. In my role, I am responsible for revenue, partnerships and profitability. I am also responsible for a client success team that works with helping and increasing our customers’ business on the platforms we provide.

I started my career as a management consultant focusing on media and telecoms; industries I find incredibly exciting considering the technology changes that are taking place, but after some years as consultant I became eager to try work on the “other side”. The idea was then to go to a small company within an industry that underwent rapid change, which I had also worked against earlier as a consultant. Doing so, I ended up at the Swedish video streaming and start-up company Magine in a role that was about building up their B2B business. From there I ended up since 6 months back at DanAds and in my current role.

Tell us about what motivates you and your goals for the future.

What drives me and what I enjoy to work with are roles where you constantly learn, where you get to create something new and challenge old truths, and work with people who are smarter than myself and challenge me to develop. Professionally, my goal is to be involved in building something new and growing it into a world-leading company, but above all to have fun!

As a father since three months, my everyday life has changed quite so radically, and what was previously important does not feel at all as important anymore. Privately my main drive and goal is to spend as much time as possible with my wonderful new-born daughter and wonderful wife, something that does not always align with the goals you might have with your job, a challenge I’m sure many recognise.

What is your most recent important insight?

I think my most important insight after having worked as a consultant before, and now in SMEs within a line function, is how important culture and people are for a company’s success. When I worked as a consultant, my focus was often on technology, quantitative data and “hard” factors, and I thought corporate culture, mission and vision were rather unnecessary. It might sound obvious, but I realised that the only way companies can become successful is through their employees, from top management to customer support, and a company will only get the best employees by having good corporate culture, a clear vision and goals that permeate the entire company.